Thanks to the warm waters and high tides of the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia is becoming an impressive and inventive wine region. It specializes in delicious sparklers and crisp whites, which pair perfectly with the local seafood. And if that doesn’t get you, its charm and sea views will.
Want to spin a good yarn when you get home? Gaspereau Valley Fibres offers wool from its flock of Cotswold sheep, as well as knitted goods, sheep milk soaps and local crafts. Housed in a bright, modern building, the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market has a host of foodstuffs and local crafts from nearly 100 vendors.
On top of gorgeous foliage, there’s a ton of food and wine events during harvest time at the Wines of Nova Scotia Fall Festival. There’s also notable history around Wolfville, especially in Grand Pré. It was from there that thousands of Acadians, the local French population, were deported by the British in 1755. A memorial of that event sits next to Domaine de Grand Pré and its solid restaurant, Le Caveau. To get a sense of the Bay of Fundy’s powerful tides, which are the biggest in the world, sit on the deck at The Port Pub, in Port Williams. While there, enjoy a beer from Sea Level Brewing next door while you watch the water go up or down 20 feet of red clay banks. The tidal action warms the seawater, which creates a reservoir of heat that can keep vines free of frost well into November.
At the heart of wine country is Wolfville, a cozy university town with a charming, animated center. Dining can be a bit conservative, so embrace the old-fashioned charm of a classic menu in the wood-paneled dining room of the Blomidon Inn. In contrast, the Middle Eastern fare at Troy provides some of the most fun eats in town. In Halifax, Stillwell provides an exceptional selection of local craft beers and an eclectic menu that goes from fried chicken to okonomiyaki fries. Fancy some seafood? Posh diners head to The Five Fishermen, housed in a historic building by the harbor. Those on the hunt for Canada’s best fish and chips go to John’s Lunch, a simple lunch counter in Dartmouth, a ferry ride from downtown.
In Halifax, the province’s main town about an hour’s drive from wine country, stop at Obladee. The wine bar boasts a great selection of local and imported cuvées, as well as exceptional cheese and charcuterie plates. Apples, however, were a staple of the region’s bounty well before grapes. In Wolfville, the Annapolis Cider Company is doing bang-up business, pouring well-crafted ciders in its new tasting room. The casual-chic Little Oak bustles with customers who seek snacks and seafood (ask for wine pairings). Specials like $20 off a $50 bottle of wine and a unique cocktail of the week are reason to keep coming back.
Four Hour Tour
Visit wineries along the winding valley roads, all relatively close to Wolfville, to taste the white wines from the Tidal Bay appellation that are the signature of the region. In addition to those, the occasional Riesling and Chardonnay can be found at places like Gaspereau Vineyards, L’Acadie Vineyards, Blomidon Estate Winery and Luckett Vineyards.
You’ll find reds at Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards, a new organic producer of Pinot Noir that’s garnering national acclaim. Avondale Sky wins the prize for the most original tasting room, a 19th-century church transported across the bay via ferry in 2011 and repurposed as a winery. For a breath of fresh air between tastings, go up Cape Blomidon for views of the Bay of Fundy and the rolling fields and hills of the Annapolis Valley.